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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fringed Rue
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Ruta

Between 8-40 species, including:
Ruta angustifolia - Egyptian Rue
Ruta chalepensis - Fringed Rue
Ruta corsica - Corsican Rue
Ruta graveolens - Common Rue
Ruta montana - Mountain Rue

Rue (Ruta) is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs 20-60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. There are perhaps 8 to 40 species in the genus. A well-known species is the Common Rue.

The leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate, with a feathery appearance, and green to strongly glaucous blue-green in colour. The flowers are yellow, with 4-5 petals, about 1 cm diameter, and borne in cymes. The fruit is a 4-5 lobed capsule, containing numerous seeds.

It is very bitter. It was used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine in olden days, as well as in many ancient Roman recipes (according to Apicius, and is still used, for example in northern Africa. In Italy rue leaves are sometimes added to grappa to obtain grappa alla ruta.


Medicinal uses

According to The Oxford Book of Health Foods, extracts from rue have been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as an insect repellent. Rue has been used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.[1]



Effect of the common rue on skin in hot weather

Caution should be taken with using rue topically. Applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering. Rue oil can cause severe stomach pain, vomiting and convulsions and may be fatal.[2] Some people are much more sensitive than others.

Literary references

Rue is mentioned in the Bible, Luke 11.42: "But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs".

Rue is well known for its symbolic meaning of regret and it is sometimes been called "herb-of-grace" in literary works. It is one of the flowers distributed by the mad Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet (IV.5):

"There's fennel for you, and columbines:
there's rue for you; and here's some for me:
we may call it herb-grace o' Sundays:
O you must wear your rue with a difference..."

It was also planted by the gardener in Shakespeare's Richard II to mark the spot where the Queen wept upon hearing news of Richard's capture (III.4.104-105):

"Here did she fall a tear, here in this place
I'll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace."

Rue is considered a national herb of Lithuania and it is the most frequently referred herb in Lithuanian folk songs, as an attribute of young girls, associated with virginity and maidenhood.

In mythology, the basilisk, whose breath could cause plants to wilt and stones to crack, had no effect on rue. Weasels who were bitten by the basilisk would retreat and eat rue in order to recover and return to fight.

In the novel The Hunger Games, the female tribute from District 11 is named Rue.

Songs associated with rue

Chervona Ruta (Червона Рута) Red Rue - A song, written by Volodymyr Ivasyuk - a popular Ukrainian poet and composer. Pop singer Sofia Rotaru performed the song in 1971. Recently Rotaru performed in in a rap arrangement.

The progressive metal band Symphony X named a song "Absinthe and Rue" on their first album, Symphony X, and Kathleen Battle, American soprano, has recorded the song cycle "Honey and Rue" written by composer Andre Previn in collaboration with the Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.

Many traditional English folk songs use rue to symbolise regret. Often it is paired with thyme: thyme used to symbolise virginity, and rue the regret supposed to follow its loss.

Una Matica de Ruda is a traditional Sephardic wedding song, dating back to the Middle Ages.

See also

  • Harmal (Peganum harmala), an unrelated plant also known as "Syrian rue"


  1. ^ Vaughan, John Griffith & Judd, Patricia Ann, Judd, The Oxford Book of Health Food, page 137, 2003. available online ISBN 0198504594
  2. ^ Eickhorst K, DeLeo V, Csaposs J (2007). "Rue the herb: Ruta graveolens--associated phytophototoxicity". Dermatitis 18 (1): 52–5. doi:10.2310/6620.2007.06033. PMID 17303046.  

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

RUE (Fr. rue, Lat. ruta, from Gr. pv-rn, the Peloponnesian word for the plant known as 7r*yavov), the name of a woody or bushy herb, belonging to the genus Ruta, especially Ruta graveolens, the "common rue," a plant with bluish green spotted leaves and greenish yellow flowers. It has a strong pungent smell and the leaves have a bitter taste. The plant was much used in medieval and later medicine as a stimulative and irritant drug. It was commonly supposed to be much used by witches. From its association with "rue," sorrow, repentance (0. Eng. hrdow, from hreowan, to be sorry for, cf. Ger. reuen), the plant was also known as "herb of grace," and was taken as the symbol of repentance.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to rue article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also rué




Etymology 1

Old English hrēow, from Germanic. Cognate with Dutch rouw, German Reue; related to Etymology 2, below.




rue (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Repentance, regret.
  2. (archaic) Pity, compassion.

Etymology 2

Old English hrēowan, perhaps influenced by Old Norse hryggja (to distress, grieve)[1], from Germanic. Cognate with Dutch rouwen, German reuen.


to rue

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle
ruing or rueing

to rue (third-person singular simple present rues, present participle ruing or rueing, simple past and past participle rued)

  1. (obsolete) (transitive) To cause to repent of sin or regret some past action.
  2. (obsolete) (transitive) To cause to feel sorrow or pity.
  3. (transitive) To repent of or regret (some past action or event); to wish that a past action or event had not taken place.
    I rued the day I crossed paths with her.
  4. (archaic) (intransitive) To feel compassion or pity.
    • Late C14: Madame, reweth upon my peynes smerte — Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘The Franklin's Tale’, Canterbury Tales
Usage notes

Most frequently used in the collocation “rue the day”.

Etymology 3

Wikipedia has an article on:


Rue (plant)

From Old French rue (retained in Modern French rue), from Latin ruta, from Ancient Greek ῥυτή (rute).




rue (plural rues)

  1. Any of various perennial shrubs of the genus Ruta, especially the herb Ruta graveolens, formerly used in medicines.
    • c. 1600, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5, Ophelia:
      There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue
      for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it
      herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
      a difference.
  • garden rue
  • herb of grace


  • Notes:
  1. ^rue” in the Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper, 2001




Etymology 1

Latin ruga.


rue f. (plural rues)

  1. street, road

Etymology 2

Latin ruta, from Ancient Greek ῥυτή (rute).


rue f. (plural rues)

  1. rue (the plant):

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

a garden herb (Ruta graveolens) which the Pharisees were careful to tithe (Luke 11:42), neglecting weightier matters. It is omitted in the parallel passage of Matt. 23:23. There are several species growing wild in Palestine. It is used for medicinal and culinary purposes. It has a powerful scent, and is a stimulant. (See MINT.)

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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